Strange Tales

of Cameron County

The ghosts of the Rinehuls estate

     The house was enormous, yet usually warm and friendly when my great grandparents lived there. It was a grand house in it's day, one of those wonderful old Victorian homes. But stories were told of "The Captain" who roamed about the house. The Captain was said to have hung himself in the back staircase that led from the kitchen to the upstairs of the house. The event was so horrifying that the staircase was sealed off, never to be opened again. The Captain could not be detained so easily; he roamed the house frequently, as a supernatural presence. The child of Dr. Bryan was also said to  have died in the house. Soon after, the Bryan family left.

      I was told that one night, my Great Aunt Marty felt a cold ghostly hand rub up her spine, she ran for the door. The door would not open! Aunt Marty was certain that "the Captain was holding it shut."

      Another night, Great Grandpa Rinehuls was sick and needed someone to take care of him. My great Aunt Vivian came from New York State to help. Everyone had already gone to bed in the upstairs rooms that were rented out. Vivian heard footsteps walking up and down the upstairs hall. She made several trips downstairs but was unable find anyone out of their apartments. Who was walking up and down the hall that night? Maybe "The Captain"?

      My great Aunt Ester and her sister Marty were asleep in the bedroom. Great Grandpa Rinehuls heard a noise in the bedroom. After looking and finding nothing, the noise was assumed to have been the cat. In the morning he found that the cat had been locked in the basement all night.

      Late one Friday night, a man came to see his wife who was occupying one of the rooms. He walked up the stairs to her room (he had reportedly been tipping the bottle a bit). She looked out of her back apartment and saw a man. Unknowing who it was she locked her apartment door. The man heard noises that must have been terrifying because the man ran down the stairs knocking over the old  fashioned coat rack (with a storage seat and mirror on the back-very heavy) as he headed for the door. He attempted to free himself from the house but the door would not open. After several attempts he grabbed two whiskey bottles (filled with colored water (My great grandma liked the way the sun shone through the bottles from the South window) and broke the glass panels that were on either side of the front door. He desperately reached for the knob from the outside but still could get out of the house. The police were just down the street and came rushing up to see what the  commotion was all about. The door was opened with ease for them. The man begged the police to PLEASE get him out of that house.

     The ownership of that grand house changed hands several times after the death of my Great Grandparents but it  will always hold special memories for me.

      The house burned to the ground in 1996. The dry old wood burned hot and fierce. 

   The day after the fire my parents stood in the convenience store (just down the street) discussing where the Captain would live now?  Just then the ice machine from the soda dispenser emptied itself onto the floor, as if the Captain was making his presence known. Maybe he followed someone home that day.  Maybe the Captain lives at your house now!

Giant Eagle and 16 of his Braves Unburied in Sterling Run

    It was documented in the Cameron County Press and The Daily Commercial that  while excavating for B.J. Earl on or about 1872 that  Giant Eagle and 16 of his braves were unburied in Sterling Run. Because of the  arrangement of the bodies, it  was believed that the men died as a result of battle. The skeleton of  Giant Eagle was reported to have been 7'7" tall.

     The legend states that  this giant Indian fell in love with Red Fern, the daughter of Thunder Cloud.  Thunder Cloud's tribe and Giant Eagle's tribes were deadly enemies.  When Red Fern was found missing Thunder Cloud's tribe prepared for battle. Red Fern and Giant Eagle married and headed back to try to make peace with Thunder cloud's tribe. Giant Eagle and his tribe were massacred and buried in shallow graves in Sterling Run. 

    Red Fern was returned to her tribe where she died shortly after ....most likely because of a broken heart.